Scientists are Digging up the Dirt for Clues to Disappearing Nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay

Thomas Fisher of UMCES enters data from a stream logger into his computer at his makeshift office near South Forge Branch, one of the Choptank’s tributaries. The logger measures water depth and temperature. (Dave Harp)

by Rona Kobell 
Rona Kobell is a staff writer for the Bay Journal. Her work has won numerous awards and in 2008, she was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying the use of economic incentives in environmental policy. Call it the case of the missing nitrogen.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal, scientists have wondered what happens to the nitrogen that farmers apply to fields over the past several decades.